In Europe urbanization is growing: Europe`s socio-economic development requires a mindful development of energy production and consumption, transport and mobility are crucial: these are central to each European citizen’s quality of life and essential in any urban planning.
European policies have set ambitious sustainability targets for all levels of governance for the coming decades, expecting important reductions in GHG emissions, a significant increase in energy efficiency production of energy from renewable sources, and a at the same time a relevant reduction of Europe’s dependence on imported oil. The development of local strategic energy, transport and
mobility plans is pivotal to meet these targets. However, individual sectoral plans dealing with energy, transport and mobility separately have often proved inefficient to provide effective, long-term solutions.
The SIMPLA project (www.simpla-project.eu/en) offers local authorities an innovative, comprehensive approach to harmonize energy, transport and mobility planning in the frame of wider urban development and land-use planning, providing a step-by-step methodology described in the chapters of these guidelines.
The guidelines are the outcome of a preparatory process entailing extensive consultations in the territories of the SIMPLA partnership. An acknowledgement goes to the over 350 stakeholders, institutional and non-institutional actors involved, including local, regional and national authorities, academy and research centres, national and local energy agencies, utilities, associations, environmental NGOs. Their feedback was elaborated by an international team of energy, mobility and climate change experts to come up with the concept underpinning the SIMPLA methodology.
Based on the guidelines, the 6 SIMPLA National Focal Points established in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Romania, and Spain, are going to implement an extensive capacity building action involving several local authorities in the six countries. The local authorities selected to be piloting the scheme are going to develop harmonized strategic energy and mobility plans using the step-bystep methodology for the development, review, update and upgrade of their plans in the frame of wider-reaching sustainable urban development schemes.
SHAPING THE ENERGY AND MOBILITY FUTURE OF EUROPEAN CITIES
Almost three quarters of the European population lives in urban areas and, according to official estimates, this share is going to increase in the coming years, reaching 80% around 2050 and making Europe one of the most urbanized continents in the world.
European cities, small and large, are faced with a growing number of challenges on their path to a more sustainable and inclusive development, including:
- the impacts of demographic trends and population change on lifestyles, social cohesion, productivity, economic growth, and quality of life in the urban areas;
- fast technological development challenging operational scenarios at unprecedented pace;
- adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change, balancing ambitious environmental impact reduction targets and the need to guarantee affordable, secure and sustainable energy.
Local authorities are called to adopt strategic visions and offer convincing solutions to citizens’ needs when planning urban development. Energy production and consumption, mobility and transport are crucial, transversal elements with multifold repercussions on any European citizen’s life and on the overall management of cities. Focusing on individual, separate sectoral policies does not seem to pay off: the solution is to be sought in a holistic approach to urban development planning. Moreover, a harmonized strategic planning process for energy, mobility, transport and land use policies provides decision makers, technical departments, public and private stakeholders with a better, integrated and synergistic view of actions needed to build the European cities of tomorrow.
Cities in Europe are urged to do their share through integrated strategic planning for their urban environments to implement the main EU energy and mobility policies:
- the White Paper on Transport ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’;
- the Urban Mobility Package;
- the 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy;
- the 2050 Energy Roadmap.
Local authorities’ actions are pivotal for reaching the objectives set by the aforementioned policies:
- - 40% GHG emissions by 2030, - 60% by 2040 and - 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels;
- at least 27% energy production from renewables and 27% energy savings compared to a business-as-usual scenario by 2030;
- dramatic reduction of Europe’s dependence on imported oil, 60% reduction of carbon emissions in transport and no more conventionally fueled cars in cities by 2050;
- increased resilience to climate change;
- building efficient and effective urban mobility and transport systems responding to the needs of all city users while balancing development and integration of the different transport modes with sustainability, economic viability, social equity, security, health and environmental quality to enhance the attractiveness of the urban environment and quality of life in European cities.
SIMPLA’s solution for local authorities is a step-by-step methodology to develop, review and adapt their strategic urban development, energy, mobility and transport plans based on a set of 6 pillars:
- a strategic vision shared within the local authority and with local partners and stakeholders;
- increased interdepartmental, multidisciplinary cooperation within local authorities;
- extensive involvement of local public and private actors in decision making;
- a shared monitoring methodology based on common data sets;
- enhanced multi-level governance;
- qualified leadership to guide the process.
Harmonized, multi-sector planning is the key factor for higher-quality, effective implementation.
It’s time to act! Planning energy and mobility together: it’s SIMPLA!